Wednesday 24 September 2014
Working in Montréal today --Civilian arms race
Good morning folks,
I will be working in Montréal today and then will be off until Tuesday.
It really bugs me to see police officers in military combat gear. Flak jackets, body armour, kevlar helmets, AR-15 converted M-16s, M4s, and the latest, driving up in MRAPs equipped with LRADs.
Did I start to loose you as the list went on? Don't worry, you aren't suppose to know about this stuff, up until quite recently it wasn't civilian authority equipment. It is military equipment designed for combat. But over the last few years we are seeing more and more of it in civilian use.
What I fail to understand is why do the civilian authorities, on both sides of our border incidentally, do not realize that even the appearance of so equipped officers causes an escalation of hostilities. When someone dressed for combat shows up and is equipped with enough firepower to kill you several times over an instinctive response may very well be attack first, after all, he doesn't even look like a chatty guy.
And you likely should worry, that officer probably has not had the full training on when and how to use his gear, and likely has not been briefed adequately on the rules on engagement. We've seen plenty of Canadian and US examples where the semi-non-lethal Tazer has been used as punishment and not as that alternative to lethal force that we were promised. And, since he is now prepared for combat, he is likely to not see you as a citizen but as an enemy. It is the 'when you are a hammer, all you see are nails' theory.
Welcome to the new combat ready police force of small town USA. With a pull back from the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan there are an abundance of military ordnance available for free to civilian police departments and school districts. That's right kids, your local school can finally have that MRAP armored personnel carrier in those nasty situations where armed and IED equipped insurgents take over the math club.
Don't even think about having a student demonstration on the high cost of tuition, your crowd will quickly be dispersed through the tactical use of grenade launchers firing in tear gar canisters..
Whoops, quick side bar. The grenade launchers used by the military typically launch fragmentation grenades, NEVER tear gas canisters. Tear gas is a prohibited weapon by signatories of chemical weapons ban treaties. However, civilian police are free to use tear gas on citizens.
And.. we are back. Yes, the tear gas will flow and then the LRADs will fire up. An LRAD is a tactical ear piercing 149 db noise maker that a properly trained soldier would deploy in 2 or 3 second bursts causing much pain in those in the wake. An untrained police officer might deploy continuously for several minutes causing permanent hearing loss of those in its wake like the untrained police did in Ferguson, MO in mid August.
One of the HUGE problems with the transfer of equipment program, is that if the receiving agency does not use the equipment within one year, it must be returned,
Really? Yes. That means that if Anytown, USA receives say.. 30 M-16s, they had better find a situation where they can use them. Perhaps the next domestic call with reports of an intoxicated couple yelling at each other will result in their house being surrounded by 30 officers with assault rifles in combat gear. Yeah.. drunk Billy Bob then becomes severely agitated, confused and frantic, grabs his possum gun and the rest is history.
Police dressing for combat is violent, it is threatening to the civilian population and will likely result in an arms race. An increase in domestic insurgency. A self fulfilling need for the combat equipment.
Dumb and dumber.
Have a good day. De-escalate where possible.